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Kumba comments on Siyathemba incident

Hoofnuus / Headline
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The Kathu Gazette approached Anglo American Kumba Iron Ore for comment on the events that occurred in Siyathemba on Sunday 12 March 2017. Here follows the media release.

 

On Sunday 12 March some residents of Siyathemba who have previously been relocated by Kumba Iron Ore, a business unit of Anglo American from Dingleton, along with their supporters, staged a protest in front of the resettlement project office. The protestors burned tyres and blockaded the road.

The group had not notified the municipality or Kumba of their intention to protest. While they did not convey any written demands, the group's demands appear to cover a range of issues including the delivery of RDP houses, demands for a local school, and demands to speed up the pro-cess of transferring new houses and associated allowances to the residents. It is not clear how many protestors were residents and how many were supporters of the wider demands.

A new “demand” is that Kumba should also build free houses for the adult children of the relocated residents who are still living with their parents.

 

The Dingleton Resettlement Project is being executed in accordance with the International Finance Corporation's (IFC) Performance Standards and has been underway for about eight years.

This has included the formation of a Resettlement Working Group (RWG), which includes six democratically elected community representatives, as well as two local ward councilors.

There has also been an extensive consultation process with individual homeowners and the community about their needs and the relation process. Consultations and engagement through the RWG are ongoing.  

Kumba is fulfilling its promise to build houses for the Dingleton homeowners who were relocated. The demand for additional new housed for adult children is new and was not part of the agreement with the community. 

Of the initial 517 Dingleton households earmarked for relocation, only 25 households have not signed the agreement to move, demanding additional financial compensation.

The replacement houses are of high quality, modern, energy efficient and are located in a vibrant area, close to all amenities eg parks, schools, the police station etc in Kathu. Dingleton was situated 30kms from Kathu whereas Siyathema is located approximately 3 km's from the town of Kathu.

Dingleton town had a primary and high school and during the negotiations with the residents the agreement reached was not to build new schools in Siyathemba, but to extend the existing schools located in Kathu (less than 2km away) for the integration of the children into these schools. It would appear that some residents have changed their demands and insist on having schools built in Siyathemba.

 

 

A spokesperson for Kumba said: We have offered fair, generous and reasonable compensation, including building the relocated residents new houses, in line with international best practice, independent valuations and in consultation with the community.

Kumba has an established track record of responsible mining, and we believe that we have demonstrated this in all our operations, including the eight year Dingleton relocation project.

Kumba will continue to engage with affected households and residents through the RWG and speak to local stakeholders to seek a peaceful resolution to any legitimate concerns and to fulfill the commitments we have made.